LSU's Tiger Stadium (102,321)
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“It’s Saturday Night in Death Valley…
and here come your Fighting Tigers of LSU.”
Hearing those words from public address announcer Dan Borne’ as the Tigers enter the stadium brings chills to even the casual LSU football fan and sends shivers to those on the opposing sideline. On football gamedays, Tiger Stadium becomes the fifth largest city in the state of Louisiana as over 100,000 fans pack the cathedral of college football to watch the Tigers play.
For LSU fans, there’s nothing better than spending a night in Tiger Stadium. LSU home football games are events talked about year-round and happenings in Tiger Stadium are passed down from generation to generation.
For opponents, however, it’s another story, as Tiger Stadium is an intimidating venue that has been called one of the most dreaded road playing sites in all of college football. Seating over 100,000 fans and nicknamed “Death Valley,” poll after poll has proclaimed Tiger Stadium as one of the greatest sites anywhere for a football game — college or professional.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
|Click on the image above to view the field from your seat|
LSU enters the 2018 season having won 78 of its 91 games in Tiger Stadium over the past 13 seasons. That stretch dates back to the start of the 2005 season and includes wins over 22 Top 25 teams. The Tigers shattered the school record for consecutive home victories with 22 from Oct. 24, 2009, to Oct. 13, 2012.
LSU is 108-18 at home since the 2000 season — including perfect home records of 7-0 in 2004, 8-0 in 2006, 7-0 in 2010 , 6-0 in 2011 and 7-0 in 2013. Only four times since 2000 have the Tigers lost more than one home game.
In 2017, LSU recorded a home win over No. 10 Auburn before 101,601 fans. The 2016 Tigers defeated No. 23 Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium and played top-ranked Alabama before a sell-out crowd of 102,321.
The Tigers in 2015 posted victories before three sell-out home crowds in excess of 102,000, including wins over 18th-ranked Auburn and eighth-ranked Florida.
The 2015 home schedule was marked by a pair of unusual occurrences. The season opener versus McNeese State was stopped in the first quarter due to severe lightning and eventually canceled when the lightning persisted throughout the evening. And, LSU in 2015 held an impromptu home game against South Carolina in Tiger Stadium after severe flooding in Columbia, S.C., the week prior to the game forced the contest to be moved to Baton Rouge.
The 2014 season featured the opening of the South End Zone Expansion, increasing Tiger Stadium’s seating capacity to 102,321. LSU averaged a school-record 101,723 fans for seven home games, recording sold-out attendance figures of 102,321 for its home games against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama.
LSU in 2013 was undefeated (7-0) at home for the fourth time in the Miles Era. The home schedule was highlighted by wins over No. 17 Florida and No. 9 Texas A&M with attendance figures just below 93,000 for both games.
The 2012 season saw the Tigers shatter the total attendance record, packing in a combined 741,005 fans for eight games. It represented the eighth-consecutive season that LSU averaged over 92,000 fans per game. The Tigers knocked off third-ranked South Carolina, 23-21, with a spectacular fourth quarter on Oct. 13 in front of 92,734. The win was LSU’s 22nd consecutive home triumph, representing a school record.
Arguably the most anticipated game in Tiger Stadium history occurred on Nov. 3 against top-ranked Alabama. After weeks of buildup, a school-record 93,374 fans and nearly 1,000 credentialed media saw the Tide escape with a 21-17 victory. However, the atmosphere that evening left an indelible image for many. ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt, attending his first LSU home game, said the following two days later on his radio show: “There is nothing I would put ahead of that that I’ve ever seen in any sport. When you’re there, you don’t want to miss anything.” Fans and media came from across the globe to attend the event. Alex Ferguson of Sky Sports UK wrote, “This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and any self-respecting sports fan has to go to a game in Tiger Stadium.” The attendance of 93,374 was the largest to ever witness a football game in the state of Louisiana.
In 2011, the Tigers capped a perfect 12-0 regular season with a 41-17 victory over No. 3 Arkansas. An attendance of 93,108 — the third-largest in the stadium’s history — watched LSU erase a 14-0 deficit by outscoring the Razorbacks 41-3 the rest of the way. In six home games during its SEC Championship run, LSU outscored its opponents by a combined score of 253-57. It was the first time since the 1958-59 seasons that the Tigers posted consecutive undefeated seasons at home.
LSU averaged over 92,000 fans for the seventh straight year in 2011, as a school-record average of 92,868 spectators piled into Tiger Stadium to see the Tigers play. The mark shattered the previous single-season average attendance mark set during the 2010 campaign with 92,718 fans per contest.
On Nov. 8, 2008, LSU eclipsed the 93,000-fan mark for the first time in school history when 93,039 spectators welcomed back former coach Nick Saban and top-ranked Alabama. LSU fell to the Crimson Tide, 27-21 in overtime, in what was then the most to ever see a game in Tiger Stadium. That mark fell in 2009 when once again the nation’s top-ranked team, the Florida Gators, played under the lights on Oct. 10. A then-school-record 93,129 fans watched Florida defeat LSU, 13-3.
The Tigers posted a 6-1 home mark during their 2007 national championship season, including a thrilling 28-24 victory on Oct. 6 over Florida that was played before a crowd of 92,910 and a national primetime audience on CBS. Legendary CBS Sports announcer Verne Lundquist to this day says it is the loudest he has ever heard a stadium during a broadcast.
The 2005 season saw Tiger Stadium play host to its first Monday night game as LSU dropped an overtime thriller to Tennessee after the game was postponed two days due to Hurricane Rita. The LSU-Tennessee contest was the most-watched college football game in the history of ESPN2, as 2.77 million homes tuned in.
Due to the devastation to New Orleans and the Louisiana Superdome by Hurricane Katrina, Tiger Stadium served as the playing site for four New Orleans Saints games in 2005, as well as hosting the Tulane-Southeastern Louisiana contest. In all, 11 games (seven NCAA and four NFL) were played in Tiger Stadium during the 2005 season.
Part of the lore of Tiger Stadium is the tradition of playing games at night, an idea that was introduced in 1931 against Spring Hill (a 35-0 LSU victory). In 2006, LSU celebrated its 75th year of playing night football in Tiger Stadium. Since that first night game in 1931, LSU has played the majority of its games at night and the Tigers have fared much better under the lights than during the day. Since 1960, LSU is 231-61-4 (.787) at night in Tiger Stadium compared to a 29-26-3 (.526) record during the day over that span. Since 2000, LSU is 65-6 in night games and head coach Les Miles is 40-2 in Saturday night games in Death Valley.
CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd wrote in Oct. 2009 of LSU’s fabled night history, “It has turned the knees of All-Americans to goo. It has caused coaches to lose their coaching minds. It only happens at a special space at a special time. LSU can be up, LSU can be down, but LSU’s best weapon remains … sunset.”
LSU has averaged 77,647 spectators for each of its 362 battles in Tiger Stadium since the NCAA began compiling official attendance figures in 1957. Since the start of the NCAA’s attendance compilations, LSU has finished in the nation’s top 10 in average attendance in 50 of the past 57 seasons. The Tigers have drawn 28,108,185 fans since 1957. LSU passed the 25,000,000-mark in all-time attendance in 2009.
Tiger Stadium first opened its gates to fans in the fall of 1924 as LSU hosted Tulane in the season finale. Beginning with that first game in Tiger Stadium, LSU has posted a 398-144-18 (.727) mark in Death Valley. LSU’s overall home record since the start of football in 1893 is 478-165-19 (.736).
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Tiger Stadium tradition and lore has seen its share of national publicity as one of the most talked about venues in all of sports.
In 1998, Sport Magazine named Tiger Stadium “the most feared road playing site in America,” and in 1996, ESPN named LSU’s pre-game party the best in all of America. Those surveys supported the previous polls by Gannett News Service in 1995, The Sporting News in 1989 and the College Football Association in 1987, that depict Tiger Stadium as the most difficult place for a visiting team to play.
Sports Illustrated’s Rick Reilly, in a column comparing college football to professional football, penned that “College football is LSU’s Tiger Stadium at night.” ESPN’s Chris Fowler called LSU his favorite gameday experience in the Sports Illustrated’s On Campus issue in 2003.
In 2002, after a 33-10 non-conference win over Miami (Ohio), UM coach Terry Hoeppner said of Tiger Stadium, “That’s as exciting an environment as you can have. I thought the crowd was a factor for us because we had communication problems we haven’t had at Michigan and Ohio State.”
After a victory before a national television audience on ESPN in 2001, ESPN sideline reporter Adrian Karsten said, “Death Valley in Baton Rouge is the loudest stadium I’ve ever been in. There are very few stadiums in America worth a touchdown, but the Bayou Bengals certainly have that advantage in Tiger Stadium.”
In 2007, the acclaim continued when The Bleacher Report ranked “Death Valley” as the third toughest venue in the world to play in. LSU’s run to a national title and record crowds led ESPN.com to proclaim Tiger Stadium as “The Scariest Place to Play in America” for an opposing team in a list of stadium rankings.
Wright Thompson of ESPN.com wrote in 2008, “It was electric. When Death Valley is rocking, it seems as if it might actually take flight. On Saturday, I went back to Baton Rouge to see Alabama barely beat LSU, and was, once again, reminded that Tiger Stadium is the best place in the world to watch a sporting event.”
The stadium’s sheer noise and tradition has carried into a new decade. In 2010, The Sporting News proclaimed Tiger tailgating and “Saturday Night in Death Valley” as the top gameday tradition in all of college football. That same year, the Associated Press named Tiger Stadium as the top place to tailgate in college football.
Following the 2012 season, Athlon Sports wrote, “Be it the vast and unique tailgating menu or Richter Scale-inducing fans, few places in the nation can send chills down your spine like a game at Tiger Stadium. As one of the loudest and most rabid atmospheres in the nation, LSU boasts one of the most daunting home-field advantages in college football Ñ especially at night.”
The 2007 national championship season featured some of Tiger Stadium’s most exciting moments, including a 28-24 win over Florida on Oct. 6. Top-ranked LSU overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the ninth-ranked Gators in front of 92,910 fans Ð then the largest crowd in stadium history Ð and a primetime CBS national television audience. Just two weeks later, Matt Flynn connected with Demetrius Byrd on a 22-yard TD pass with one second remaining to give LSU a 30-24 victory over Auburn in a game televised by ESPN. LSU rallied from deficits of 17-7 at halftime and 24-23 with three minutes left in the contest to capture the electrifying win.
Though already considered one of the most raucous stadiums in all of college football, the 2003 season saw Tiger Stadium take it to another level during LSU’s national title run, as the team, along with the fans, captivated the national media almost on a weekly basis. CBS televised Matt Mauck’s last-minute game-winning pass to Skyler Green against Georgia before a crowd of 92,251, while ESPN was on hand for a dominating 31-7 victory over Auburn. The Tigers closed out the 2003 home slate with a 55-24 win over Arkansas before what was then the second-largest crowd in school history (92,213). The contest was televised to a national audience by CBS and the win propelled LSU to the SEC Championship Game.
In 2001, the Tigers clinched a berth in their first SEC Championship Game with a 27-14 victory over Auburn in the season finale in Tiger Stadium. After the contest, thousands of Tiger fans spilled onto the stadium floor to celebrate the victory. The Auburn game was traditionally played earlier in the season, but the attacks of September 11 postponed the contest until the final week of the regular season.
In 2000, the goal posts came down twice. Immediately after the Tigers upset then-No. 11 ranked Tennessee 38-31 in overtime, the capacity crowd of 91,682 flowed onto the field of Tiger Stadium to celebrate the victory. Hundreds of students lined the sidelines and the back of the north end zone as the Tigers held the Vols scoreless in overtime for the victory.
The goal posts came down again in the final home game of the 2000 season as the Tigers posted a 30-28 win over Alabama, their first victory over the Crimson Tide in Tiger Stadium since 1969.
The goal posts fell for the first time in 1997 as all of America witnessed one of the most explosive nights in the history of the grand stadium when the Tigers upended No. 1-ranked Florida before a national television audience. A sea of Tiger fans swamped the floor of Tiger Stadium as both goal posts came crashing down — a scene that was replayed countless times on college football highlight shows.
One of the most famous moments in Death Valley history took place on “The Night The Tigers Moved the Earth,” Oct. 8, 1988. When Tiger quarterback Tommy Hodson threw to Eddie Fuller for a winning touchdown against Auburn, the explosion of the crowd was so thunderous that it caused an earth tremor that registered on a seismograph meter in LSU’s Geology Department across campus.
Then there was the night the Tigers nearly upset No. 1-ranked Southern California before a sellout crowd on September 28, 1979. The Tigers came up short, but the crowd roared from kickoff to final gun in a game many ardent LSU followers rank as the loudest in stadium history.
And, of course, there was Halloween night 1959, when Billy Cannon made his famous 89-yard punt return to lead No. 1 LSU past No. 3 Ole Miss. Legend has it that families living near the campus lakes came running out of their homes in fear of the noise erupting around them.
Those are the highlights, some of which have shaped the character of this great stadium. But week in and week out each fall, a new chapter unfolds in the history of Death Valley.
Aside from football, Tiger Stadium served as a concert venue from 2010-16. Death Valley played host to “Bayou Country Superfest,” a three-day country music festival that featured the likes of Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.
The home of one of football’s proudest traditions, Tiger Stadium once served as a dormitory for approximately 1,500 students, and while Broussard Hall, then LSU’s athletics dormitory, was being renovated during the fall of 1986, the LSU football players lived in Tiger Stadium.
The original phase of construction was completed in 1924. This first phase included the east and west stands, which seated about 12,000. Seven years later (1931), the sides were extended upward to accommodate an additional 10,000 fans, raising the capacity to 22,000. In 1936, the stadium seating capacity was increased to 46,000, with the addition of 24,000 seats in the north end, making Tiger Stadium into a horseshoe configuration.
The next phase of construction took place in 1953 when the stadium’s south end was closed to turn the horseshoe into a bowl, increasing the seating capacity to 67,720.
The original upper deck atop the west stands was completed in 1978, and it added 8,000 seats to the stadium’s capacity. More seating in two club level sections, which flanked the existing press box, brought the total addition to approximately 10,000 seats and raised the stadium’s capacity to approximately 78,000.
Refurbishing began on the stadium in the summer of 1985, when the east and west stands were waterproofed, and 25,000 chair back seats were added to replace the older “bench” type seats. Another phase of improvements was completed in 1987 when the north and south stands were waterproofed and newer bleachers were again installed to replace the older ones.
The playing field was moved 11 feet south in 1986 to provide more room between the back line of the North End Zone and the curvature of the stadium fence, which surrounds the field. It also put the playing area in the exact center of the arena’s grassy surface.
Prior to the 1987 season, more seats were installed at the upper portion of the west lower stands in Tiger Stadium. Also, the stadium’s seating arrangement was renumbered to make all seats a uniform size. The addition of bleacher seating in 1988 brought the capacity to 80,150, but the elimination of some bleacher seating after the 1994 season dropped the capacity to 80,000.
Now the sixth-largest on-campus stadium in college football, Tiger Stadium continues to provide fans with the ultimate college football experience. Prior to the 2000 season, 11,600 seats were added with the installation of the east upper deck, bringing the capacity to nearly 92,000. In addition to the new east upper deck, 70 skyboxes, called “Tiger Dens,” were built, giving Tiger fans luxury accommodations. The addition of the 11,600 seats in 2000 marked the first expansion to Tiger Stadium since 1978, when the original west upper deck was completed.
The distinctive environment of Tiger Stadium became even more pronounced in 2005 as the ambitious West Upper Deck project was virtually completed. Construction on the project — which began immediately after LSU’s home finale against Ole Miss in November of 2004 – carried a $85 million price tag and rebuilt over 3,200 special amenity seats as a well as a state-of-the-art press box to Tiger Stadium. The west side renovation, which included the removal and rebuilding of the upper deck to mirror the east side upper deck, was finished during the 2006 season.
In 2009, major technological advances were made when Tiger Stadium added an 80-foot wide high-definition video board to the north endzone of the facility. Called one of the largest video boards in all of college athletics, the HD board measures 27-feet high and 80-feet wide.
In August 2010, LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva and the Tiger Athletic Foundation launched a campaign to preserve and restore the look of Tiger Stadium. The 428 windows on the north side of the stadium were completely refurbished. The 300 remaining windows on the east and west sides of the stadium will be completed by the 2013 season.
Prior to the 2012 season, construction was completed on the first part of the west side plaza that includes new gates, All-American and Hall of Fame plazas and the national championship plaza that showcases the past, present and future of LSU football. Construction on the north plaza of Tiger Stadium was completed prior to the 2013 season.
The 2012 season saw a new tradition established at Tiger Stadium. Following an LSU victory, the north end of the stadium lights up in “victory gold.” The new unique look is a part of a state-of-the-art lighting system that was installed prior to the season that turns the upper archways of the north end of the stadium to purple and gold. Also prior to the 2012 campaign, letters spelling out Tiger Stadium were installed on the west side.
In April 2012, a new exciting era of Tiger Stadium was unveiled by Alleva. Construction is well underway for 66 suites, approximately 3,000 club seats above the existing south end zone seats, as well as 1,400 general public seats above the new suite and club seating to be completed by the 2014 season. The project, privately funded by Tiger Athletic Foundation, will bring the capacity of Tiger Stadium to 102,321, making it the fifth-largest stadium in the nation.
Home Venues of LSU Football (through 2017)
Year Built: 1924
Largest Crowd: 102,321 (seven times since 2014)
First Game: vs. Tulane, 11/27/1924
First Night Game: vs. Spring Hill, 10/3/1931
Tiger Stadium (Nov. 27, 1924 – Present): 418-150-18
State Field (1917 – Nov. 15, 24): 23-8
Field/Bleachers North of Pentagon Barracks (1911-16): 21-3-1
Old Parade Grounds South of Pentagon Barracks (1894-1910): 39-9-1
All-Time Record in Baton Rouge: 501-170-20
Top 20 Tiger Stadium Crowds
|1.||102,321*||Alabama||Nov. 5, 2016||Alabama, 10-0|
|102,321*||Florida||Oct. 17, 2015||LSU, 35-28|
|102,321*||Eastern Michigan||Oct. 3, 2015||LSU, 44-22|
|102,321*||Auburn||Sept. 19, 2015||LSU, 45-21|
|102,321*||Alabama||Nov. 8, 2014||Alabama, 20-13 (OT)|
|102,321*||Ole Miss||Oct. 25, 2014||LSU, 10-7|
|102,321*||Mississippi State||Sept. 20, 2014||MSU, 34-29|
|8.||102,164||Southern Miss||Oct. 15, 2016||LSU, 45-10|
|9.||102,071||Missouri||Oct. 1, 2016||LSU, 42-7|
|10.||102,043||Florida||Nov. 19, 2016||Florida, 16-10|
|11.||101,987||New Mexico State||Sept. 27, 2014||LSU, 63-7|
|12.||101,803||Texas A&M||Nov. 28, 2015||LSU, 19-7|
|13.||101,720||Ole Miss||Oct. 22, 2016||LSU, 38-21|
|14.||101,699||Arkansas||Nov. 14, 2015||Arkansas, 31-14|
|15.||101.581||Kentucky||Oct. 18, 2014||LSU, 41-3|
|16.||101,561||Western Kentucky||Oct. 24, 2015||LSU, 48-20|
|17.||101.194||UL-Monroe||Sept. 13, 2014||LSU, 31-0|
|18.||100.338||Sam Houston State||Aug. 30, 2014||LSU, 56-0|
|19.||99,910||Mississippi State||Sept. 17, 2016||LSU, 23-20|
|20.||99,879||Troy||Sept. 30, 2017||Troy, 24-21|
* stadium capacity as of 2014 season
LSU’s Year-by-Year Record in Tiger Stadium
Tiger Stadium Overall Record:
Tiger Stadium Annual Attendance (1957 to Present)
|Year||Games||Attendance||Average||NCAA Avg. Attendance Rank|
* denotes LSU record
** Per NCAA official statistics, LSU’s 2015 NCAA ranking and average attendance do not take into account the include the South Carolina game, which was moved to Baton Rouge due to flooding in Columbia. Excluding the South Carolina game, LSU’s six-game total was 612,026, an average of 102,004.